De Lage Landen Financial Services (DLL), the world’s largest equipment finance company, is a subsidiary of Rabobank, the largest bank in the Netherlands. With roots in thirty countries, this international organization provides equipment finance services for businesses of all specialties and sizes. Due to the scope of DLL’s work, the company requires cooperation from all offices to stay on the same page. Chief Legal Officer Lisa Fleischer is the woman in charge of overseeing and sustaining all legal action in the United States. In addition to liaising frequently with the company’s European branches, she oversees the company’s transactional work, corporate litigation, insurance, and tax legal issues; serves as corporate secretary; and sits on many client committees. She is also the treasurer of the Association of Corporate Counsel and an active volunteer for Philadelphia’s branch of Cradles to Crayons. In short, Fleischer has a well-stocked calendar, and as far as master multitaskers go, she’s the epitome.
DLL’s US branch has the largest legal department of all of the DLL country offices. While Fleischer manages the ins and outs of the department, she is also tasked with coordinating with global departments much like her own. As such, communication is the heartbeat of her job. Throughout her years at DLL, Fleischer has learned to navigate and strengthen relationships with her international colleagues. She visits Europe multiple times a year to ensure that all country legal departments are implementing best business practices and achieving success to the same degree.
“I’ve forged a strong relationship with my colleagues in Europe and across the globe,” Fleischer says. “The US tends to be a leader in our global business. So when I visit and/or meet with global business leaders, we often discuss issues that have arisen or synergies that we created in the US. I share checklists and best practices with my global colleagues. I find that, notwithstanding cultural differences, we almost always have common issues that we can share and learn from each other, and it helps keep our connection strong.”
While it may seem difficult to maintain business relations with DLL offices that are not physically and readily accessible, Fleischer says that the biggest challenge is simply scheduling meetings with respect to everyone’s differing time zones. This challenge has made her adept at coordination and flexibility, which translates into the everyday bustle of her work. Because of the busy nature of the legal department’s jobs, Fleischer emphasizes the importance of workplace happiness among her colleagues just as much as hard work. With the CEO, she has led several initiatives to create a positive work space. To alleviate workloads, for example, Fleischer has instituted a “responsibility matrix,” which assigns every project in the department a primary and secondary point so that the entirety of the work never falls on one person’s shoulders.
Employees on Fleischer’s team are even encouraged to schedule time for themselves during monthly “happy days,” which are days when employees can leave two hours early to do something for themselves but still get paid for the full day. Preserving personal time amid a busy work schedule has heightened workplace happiness substantially and strengthened DLL’s team environment.
“We spend so much time at work that we must create an optimistic, positive work environment,” says Fleischer. “We should work hard to make sure our work product is exceptional, but at the end of the day we’re all still people, and we can’t lose sight of our personal lives.”
Fleischer’s belief in using one’s time wisely and purposefully carries over into the company’s emphasis on charity work. DLL encourages employees to spend time helping the community through, among others, a nonprofit called Cradles to Crayons, which provides clothing to local children in need.
“Each employee is offered two paid days a year to volunteer in the community,” Fleischer explains. “Our global CEO is very passionate about this and we’re proud of all the hours that our employees give to charity, including our partnership with Cradles.” As a board member for the Cradles organization, she is actively involved in events like the Backpack-A-Thon, in which volunteers stuff 30,000 backpacks with school supplies in a mere two hours. The backpacks are later given to children before they start school in the fall. “It’s very inspirational and heartwarming,” Fleischer says, “and very much in connection with the values we have at DLL.”
DLL’s corporate mission centers on the power of togetherness. Devoting countless hours to the company’s mission has made DLL’s employees feel like a family. Through her efforts to stay connected internationally and domestically, Fleischer has not only helped sustain a sense of companionship and efficiency but also upheld the importance of community to make an impact. Despite everything on her calendar, staying positive is one task Fleischer easily crosses off her list every day.
“We really enjoyed having Lisa Fleischer supervise our trial work. She has an excellent ear for how testimony will play, and she is totally unflappable and even-tempered—great qualities for a general counsel.”
–Steven E. Bizar, Partner and Cochair, Dechert Antitrust and Competition
Platzer, Swergold, Levine, Goldberg, Katz & Jaslow, LLP and Cohn & Dussi LLC:
“Lisa’s dedication and professionalism is an inspiration. We greatly value our relationship with her as a trusted advisor.”